Country Creche Childcare Centre - 17/02/2016

1. Evaluation of Country Creche Childcare Centre

How well placed is Country Creche Childcare Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.

Background

Country Creche Childcare Centre is privately owned early childhood centre. It is located on 2.5 hectares of rural land in Mātangi, between Hamilton and Cambridge. The centre provides education and care for a maximum of 72 children in three separate age-based buildings: under twos (0-2 years), over twos (2-3.5 years) and preschool (3.5-6 years). Each building has a spacious outdoor area. The current roll of 103, includes seven children of Māori descent.

The experienced licensee and her husband are co-owners of the centre. The licensee has the overall responsibility for strategic planning, quality of education and care, self review, property and human resource management and compliance. The co-owner assists with financial management and administration.

There are three supervisors who provide leadership for their respective teams. The stable teaching team of 20 includes 15 qualified early childhood teachers and two teachers who are primary trained. Many of these teachers are long-serving at the centre.

ERO’s 2012 report identified self review and fostering New Zealand’s bicultural heritage as areas for development. Although the centre has made progress in these areas, this report identifies the need for further development. Recent whole-centre professional development has focused on learning stories, communication and team building.

The centre’s philosophy aims to foster individual children’s learning, confidence, independence, practical life and social skills through respectful experiences and interactions.

The Review Findings

Preschool children learn to be capable and competent learners. They are very settled and enjoy trusting relationships with adults and other children. Friendships are very evident between children, and they play well with and alongside their peers. Preschool children demonstrate well-developed negotiation skills and frequently engage in sustained imaginative play. They confidently communicate with adults and peers, enjoy experimenting with writing and reading to themselves and others.

Babies and toddlers enjoy calm, caring and nurturing interactions and with familiar adults in a friendly and supportive learning environment. Consistent caregiving supports their need for strong and secure attachments and provides high quality support for language development. Teachers work closely with parents and whānau to identify and respond to children’s individual needs and routines. They follow children’s lead and are highly responsive to their verbal and non-verbal cues. Babies and toddlers are confident explorers and communicators, and high levels of trust are particularly evident between children in the under two area.

Children enjoy a wide variety of learning opportunities in attractive and well-resourced learning environments. Features of learning programmes include:

  • opportunities to care for animals and the natural world
  • literacy, numeracy and science learning through play and in other meaningful ways
  • diverse physical challenges
  • exploration of the creative arts, especially in the over two area.

Children have some opportunities to listen to and sing in te reo Māori and to learn about tikanga activities such as karakia.

Teachers’ interactions with children are positive, respectful and inclusive. Positive guidance and settling strategies are effective. Teachers skilfully foster children’s independence and development of self-help and social and language skills. They also provide leadership opportunities for children and encourage them to be creative problem solvers.

Teachers have well-developed planning and assessment systems. The over-two teaching team has explored strategies to make their planning more responsive to individual children’s learning and interests. Other teams have investigated alternative strategies to enhance planning processes. Individual learning portfolios are well presented. Professional development has resulted in a greater emphasis on identifying children’s strengths, interests and dispositions or preferred ways of learning.

Teaching teams have established strong relationships with parents and whānau. Parents find teachers to be friendly, welcoming and approachable. Teachers keep parents well informed about their children’s involvement in the learning programme through portfolios and informal discussions. Parents appreciate teachers’ ongoing support and responsiveness to their children’s individual needs, and opportunities to attend workshops about good practices in early childhood education. They regularly participate in centre activities and contribute to self review.

The co-owners and supervisors demonstrate a strong commitment to the centre’s philosophy, vision and goals. They work collaboratively and effectively as a centre-wide leadership team. Supervisors lead their teams by example, and staff appreciate their support and guidance. There are examples of shared and collaborative leadership, and comprehensive self-review and reflection leading to positive change. There is an appropriate mix of both personal and centre-wide professional development.

The licensee continues to provide high quality professional leadership. She maintains consistently positive, respectful and caring relationships with staff, parents, children and community members. The licensee strongly advocates for, and is highly responsive to, the needs of children and their families. Funding of high teacher-to-child ratios, accessing external support, and employing additional staff to support children with special needs reflects her ongoing commitment to provide high quality education and care for all children. She promotes and models ongoing improvement through self-review, including recent development of high quality health and safety systems and processes.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre leaders agree that key next steps are to strengthen:

  • self review and action planning by clearly specifying evaluation criteria and desired outcomes
  • systems for evaluating and reporting on the quality of teaching and learning
  • the incorporation of te reo, tikanga and te ao Māori, including local iwi history and identity, in the programme, environment and children’s portfolios.

In addition, team planning and assessment practices should be strengthened through:

  • more timely, whole team development of strategies to encourage children to further explore emerging interests
  • more consistent documentation of the outcomes of these strategies and children’s progress over time
  • greater involvement of parents and older children in planning processes.

ERO agrees with centre leaders on the need for:

  • whole centre professional learning and development to further improve the quality and consistency of self-review and bicultural practices
  • more advanced leadership training for supervisors.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Country Creche Childcare Centre completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • curriculum
  • premises and facilities
  • health and safety practices
  • governance, management and administration.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s systems for managing the following areas that have a potentially high impact on children's wellbeing:

  • emotional safety (including positive guidance and child protection)
  • physical safety (including supervision; sleep procedures; accidents; medication; hygiene; excursion policies and procedures)
  • suitable staffing (including qualification levels; police vetting; teacher registration; ratios)
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

All early childhood services are required to promote children's health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Country Creche Childcare Centre will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

17 February 2016

The Purpose of ERO Reports

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the government department that, as part of its work, reviews early childhood services throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. ERO’s reports provide information for parents and communities about each service’s strengths and next steps for development. ERO’s bicultural evaluation framework Ngā Pou Here is described in SECTION 3 of this report. Early childhood services are partners in the review process and are expected to make use of the review findings to enhance children's wellbeing and learning.

2. Information about the Early Childhood Service

Location

Mātangi

Ministry of Education profile number

34084

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

72 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll

103

Gender composition

Boys 54 Girls 49

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Other European

7

93

3

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:3

Better than minimum requirements

 

2 to 3.5 Over 3.5

1:6

1:8

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2015

Date of this report

17 February 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2012

3. General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

ERO’s Evaluation Framework

ERO’s overarching question for an early childhood education review is ‘How well placed is this service to promote positive learning outcomes for children?’ ERO focuses on the following factors as described in the bicultural framework Ngā Pou Here:

Pou Whakahaere – how the service determines its vision, philosophy and direction to ensure positive outcomes for children

Pou Ārahi – how leadership is enacted to enhance positive outcomes for children

Mātauranga – whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is designed to achieve positive outcomes for children

Tikanga whakaako – how approaches to teaching and learning respond to diversity and support positive outcomes for children.

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness of arotake – self review and of whanaungatanga – partnerships with parents and whānau.

ERO evaluates how well placed a service is to sustain good practice and make ongoing improvements for the benefit of all children at the service.

A focus for the government is that all children, especially priority learners, have an opportunity to benefit from quality early childhood education. ERO will report on how well each service promotes positive outcomes for all children, with a focus on children who are Māori, Pacific, have diverse needs, and are up to the age of two.

For more information about the framework and Ngā Pou Here refer to ERO’s Approach to Review in Early Childhood Services.

ERO’s Overall Judgement and Next Review

The overall judgement that ERO makes and the timing of the next review will depend on how well placed a service is to promote positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed – The next ERO review in four years
  • Well placed – The next ERO review in three years
  • Requires further development – The next ERO review within two years
  • Not well placed - The next ERO review in consultation with the Ministry of Education

ERO has developed criteria for each category. These are available on ERO’s website.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews are tailored to each service’s context and performance, within the overarching review framework. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.